Category Archives: Blogging

Comparing Chess To Blogging In 5 Moves

I’ve been playing chess in some fashion since I was 12 years old. I’m not going to say I’m good, but I will say that there are good players I’ve beaten every once in awhile and bad players I’ve lost to every once in awhile but, like pool, I did win a chess tournament when I was a kid, though nothing sanctioned or anything like that.

I guess that qualifies me to write a post comparing some aspects of chess to some aspects of blogging. After all, I’ve compared blogging to poker, a toaster oven, and Harry Potter. So why not, right? That and Sire dared me to. πŸ™‚ Here goes:

1. A big part of chess and blogging is about consistency.

With chess, there are moves you develop as your beginning that you’ll almost always do unless you’re very proficient at the game. You do that because what happens if you don’t is you end up losing to someone who’s been hoping you’ll do something stupid early so they can crush you.

In blogging, consistency means you establish how often you’re going to write and then you try to stick to it as much as possible. If you decide to alter things, you do so with both a practiced hand and by running your own version of analytics to see how it’s going. If you change up either by suddenly writing drastically less or a heck of a lot more your audience might not know how to react to it and thus your game isn’t as tight as you’d like it to be.

2. Every once in awhile you have to shake things up.

Whereas consistency is a good thing for you, if you’re practiced shaking things up here and there could work to your benefit. Back when Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky in 1972, one of the turning points early on was Fischer changing from what everyone knew was his opening move. Spassky was so thrown that he never made a move in the game and resigned.

In blogging, safe is nice and comfortable but people need to be inspired to want to come to see what you have to say next, and that doesn’t happen unless you shake things up from time to time. I wonder how many people thought I was going to write a 2,800 word post on being happy a few days ago, or knew I was going to tell a story about my battle with a wasp, which I won. πŸ™‚

3. Both chess and blogging are predicated on the concept of a good beginning, middle and end.

There are thousands of chess books dedicated only to opening moves; experts consider it that important. There are also thousands of books dedicated to what they call the “end game”. The middle offers millions of possible combinations, yet it’s those middles that result from the beginnings and lead to those ends.

In blogging, at least for me, the best posts are told like stories, and every good story has a great beginning, middle and end. The introduction usually tells people what’s coming, or in some fashion brings them into play. The middle is the really interesting part, the meat if you will, because hopefully the writer gets you engrossed in some fashion such that you can’t wait to get to the end. The end… well, often it’s kind of anticlimactic in blogging, but many will tell you that if you’re trying to make money then how you close is really important, the “call to action” if you will.

4. Going for the draw or storming the fortress.

Two months ago Mitch Allen and myself wrote a joint guest post on one of Vernessa Taylor’s properties titled This IS a Game. It’s Your Move, a look at small business from the perspective of chess, which is probably why I thought I’d already written a post here on chess. We were asked to talk about what we saw was our most important business lesson as related to chess. I stated that sometimes one has to go for the draw when one needs to find balance in what they’re doing if they’re not already on top of things. Mitch wrote that a player can’t go after their goal without some kind of plan as to how they’re going to win in attacking the fortress the other player sets up.

Blogging is kind of like that. Unless it’s a blog like this one that doesn’t have a niche, you almost can’t afford to blog without having some idea of what it is you’re planning. Now to be truthful, I have set myself up so I can write about anything I want to, but I do also have plans. For instance, you know about Black Web Friday; that is planned. You know I write mainly about blogging and social media; that’s planned. Almost every subject I write about on a consistent basis is part of a plan. I don’t deviate all that often from the plans for this blog. I expect that’s why people come back; even though they don’t know what I’m going to talk about next, they do know that there are places I’m not going to go; this is a safe zone, no matter what topic I address.

5. If you play enough chess or blog enough, you’ll get better and find your rhythm.

When I started playing chess against people who knew what they were doing, I was losing a lot of games in about 10 moves. That was embarrassing to say the least. These days I’m not so easy to beat, even if I still don’t win them all (or even most of them against Mitch; Sire and I are pretty much equal). Yet I’m not a pushover; I have my set number of moves I want to get to, and I usually get there if I play someone more than once.

With blogging, I don’t have a set number of words, but I do have a style I like to maintain. This blog is more than 4 years old now, and if you have the nerve to look at the early posts and compare them to the newer posts, you’ll see that I got better at it. The same goes for my business blog and my newsletter; time and practice makes you better at everything. And with both chess and blogging, you get to do it over and over, so you can’t help but get better.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

WP Smush.It Issues With WordPress Version 3.3.2

This one will indeed be a very short post, so short I’m not even putting a picture in it.

If you’ve been having problems uploading images since the last WordPress update to 3.3.2 it’s most probably the WP Smush-It plugin, if you’re using it. It’s a great plugin for reducing the size of the images you upload but for some reason, it’s gone wonky with the latest update.

I did my research, of course, and the two recommendations were to delete your uploads file off your server and let it be created all over again and to inactivate all of your plugins and try to upload an image, and if it worked then you knew it was one of those. I actually did delete all my files first because I just can’t do the easy thing (I copied all images to my computer first) and the first image I loaded afterwards worked, but none of the others did.

I pretty much knew then that it was going to be one of two plugins on my computer, either the one dealing with caching or the one dealing directly with images. I chose that one and I’ve had nothing but success since.

Now, if you’re still having problems and don’t use that plugin at all, the other suggestion is still out there for you to try. And now I’m done… oh heck, okay, an image at the bottom. πŸ™‚

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

5 More Lessons About Blogging Learned From A Poker Tournament

On Saturday I decided that I deserved a break and went to the casino about 40 minutes from my house. My intention wasn’t only to play, though; I had decided I was going to enter the tournament.

For those folks who have never played a poker tournament but know the general rules of poker, let’s say that it’s an exhilarating experience. From the time you start until the time you’re finished you’re always on your guard. I want to say more but I think it’ll mess up what I’m going to write here, as I’m going to expound on a previous post that I wrote about a year ago titled 5 Keys To Winning Poker Tournaments And Blogging, which expounded on my post titled 5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Poker.
Continue reading 5 More Lessons About Blogging Learned From A Poker Tournament

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

5 Ways Blogging Is Like A Toaster Oven

I know what you’re thinking: Mitch has gone nuts! lol Well, not quite. I’ve talked about the process of trying to come up with things to write about on one’s blog, no matter what the industry is. I hear from so many people who say they don’t know what to say, or can’t come up with something different to highlight their points, and thus they stop writing.

Farberware Special Select 4-Slice Toaster Oven with Baking Tray






I say that if you pay attention to your surroundings, or what’s going on in the news or life in general, that there’s always something to write about. Thus, as I was toasting a piece of bread in my toaster oven, it hit me that there really are 5 ways blogging and toaster ovens are related. Want to see? Here we go:

1. Each is multi-functional. Take a look at the item to the right. It toasts; it bakes; it warms things up, and it’s sizable enough where you can fit a lot of different things inside it.

Take a look at blogs. When you write, you educate, entertain or inform. You advertise yourself via an About page. You can have ads on it to help you make money. You can link it to other websites for whatever reason.

2. Each can be dangerous. One thing I’ve always worried about is getting burned on the metal thing that my toast or english muffin sits on, and it’s happened here and there. My wife worries about there being a short or it overheating because sometimes she forgets that using the oven portion, the sucker doesn’t shut itself off.

Sometimes what people write on their blog will set off the wrong person or convey the wrong message. Someone might read your post, go back to their blog and totally trash you (yeah, okay, I do that from time to time lol). You might have affiliate links on your site and have someone burn you by stealing them, changing them up, and taking your money from you.

3. Each looks nice and shiny at the beginning, but needs cleaning or changing up to stay fresh looking. If you haven’t cleaned your toaster oven in at least a year go take a look at what’s inside it. You’ll have all sorts of gunk sitting at the bottom of it, some of it a charred mess. The rack your toast and stuff sits on is probably caked with some black gunk as well. It just doesn’t look all that shiny and pretty anymore.

The same happens with some blogs. The writer stops trying as hard and the words are boring to read. The ads never change and you start to ignore what you’re seeing. The size and style of the posts never vary; there’s no variety. There’s too many spam comments and it seems like the owner just doesn’t care.

4. They’re both easy to change in some fashion. The best thing about toaster ovens is that you can put them anywhere in the kitchen; heck, you don’t even have to put them in the kitchen. I remember some folks having one of these in their college dorm room; that goes way back. Also, they come in multiple colors and styles; never boring at all.

Blogs are the same way. If you don’t like the theme, you can change it. If what you’re writing about is starting to feel like a grind, change it. If you want to write in a different style, you can. If you want to add something new, do it; no rules.

5. Both can bring great joy over and over again. Look at that toaster oven again. That bad boy can toast bread or an english muffin multiple times, multiple days, possibly over multiple years. You can always throw something in there to heat up or cook, and you’ll eat that, love that, and come back for more.

The same with blogging, whether you’re the writer or the reader. This will be my 305th post on the topic of blogging, and I hope that each post can stand on its own and not be a duplicate of another post. Yet every time I write about blogging or any of the other items I feel a great joy, like I’m eating a great piece of chocolate cake (love good chocolate cake), and when that’s done, I know that I can come back and write another one tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever. And it may not be on blogging but on something else; how wonderful is that for me, and hopefully for the readers, who know that they’re not going to get the same exact thing from me here on this blog, or see something that someone else has written elsewhere. At least I hope not; people do steal sometimes. πŸ™‚

There; I bet you thought I couldn’t do it. Agree, disagree, mouth agape because I pulled it off? Let me know. πŸ˜‰
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

2 Other Ways Of Making Money Blogging

As y’all know, I’ve been talking a lot about marketing lately. I’ve also been talking about the myth, of sorts, of making money by blogging. Well, I’m here to add some things to previous conversations.


via PATV Channel via Flickr

First, I’ve always believed that if one has a highly ranked blog that they should be making pretty good money, enough so that they won’t have to work for anyone else ever again. That doesn’t turn out to be true at all, but not for the reasons you might believe.

There are two reasons a person won’t make a lot of money if their blog is highly ranked.

One is because their audience isn’t quite niched properly. By that I mean like my blog. I talk a lot about social media and technology stuff but at a moment’s notice I’ll change up and talk about marketing, diabetes, whatever. I have a nice group of people that subscribe to this blog and some other folks that stop by on a regular basis, but overall I’ve never niched this blog so that it continually attracts a specific group of people that might be interested in buying any of the stuff I have on the left or right sidebars of this blog.

Two, the other is that some of those people aren’t trying to make money blogging, even if the rest of us think they are. One of my friends who stops by here often pretty much told me that’s not her focus right now; it’s on content, plain and simple, and one day she might give it a real try. I’m not going to mention her name, but I am going to mention someone else’s name, and by extension mention a host of other folks.

I once talked about Steve Pavlina, who has stopped taking comments on his blog, and how much he writes. Truth be told, I have way more posts than he has, but he writes these really long posts, sometimes as much as 7,500 words. He puts a lot of time into researching his posts, sometimes experimenting before writing the posts, and I have to say that until he went on one 30 day challenge for himself that frankly freaked me out a bit, I used to stop in and read his blog a lot.

Now, here’s two things. One, he’s not making any money blogging. He’s got a highly ranked website, and he talks about writing lots of content that’s timeless and valuable to everyone that stops by. Two, he doesn’t have to try to make money from blogging because he’s already got money. The guy makes money in a totally different way that has nothing to do with blogging or writing. In other words, he’s got the money to do whatever he wants, including writing long blog posts, going on vacations whenever he likes, etc. How do I know? Because a few nights ago I read one of his books titled How to Build a High-Traffic Web Site (or Blog) where he talked about it.

It reminded me that there are many other bloggers with high volume websites that either do or don’t make a lot of money actually blogging because they already make money in other ways. Some that do were making money or already had money when they started, and thus really can’t relate to the rest of us.

The only one I can think of that’s somewhat like us is Darren Rowse, and you know how he did it? By having a niche blog as well as his regular blog, and the niche blog generated the big bucks. He also started off writing 9 or 10 posts a day, which fits the criteria about content. A lot of content will drive visitors and traffic, even if it’s not one long article. As a matter of fact, the highest ranked sites have multiple bloggers or use a lot of guest posts to help populate things. Copyblogger is an example, along with Huffington Post, of blog sites with lots of posts per day.

So, we come back to the two ways; niche blog and lots of content. For the record, a 7,500 word post works out to 10 – 15 posts for most people, and Pavlina does that 2 or 3 times a week. How many of you think you could do that? If I didn’t have 5 blogs I think I could do it, if I knew that’s what was going to make me money. But that’s still the issue isn’t it? You drive traffic but who’s to say that you’d have the right niche topic that brought buyers as well as readers?

I don’t really believe that any of the blogs I have right now would bring buyers, even if I was writing that much content daily. That means I’d have to figure out a way to modify things somewhere so that one blog could be within a broad niche so I could have enough to write about, but also make it a niche where there are buyers. It’s certainly not going to be leadership, it’s not going to be a local blog, and it’s not going to be a blog on SEO. I’m not sure a blog on social media would get it done.

But a blog on technology; yeah, that might get it done. A blog on working out might get it done. A cooking blog, absolutely. Man, too bad that’s stuff I can’t write enough on. If I were in my 20’s I could probably tackle technology but that’s it. I actually do have a friend that was making pretty good money writing on horses and horse equipment, but she found it hard to sustain at a certain level after awhile and turned it into a magazine, where she has a main sponsor that helps her out some. That proves that with the right niche you can do it, but also proves that it takes content, continuous and lots of it, to get it done.

Do you have what it takes inside of you to get it done? Are you at least thinking about things in a different way? Let me know.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell